Chargers fans take a good look. This is the man who is now charged with protecting your $90 million quarterback.
That's right bolt backers when the bright lights of Monday Night Football shine down on the field at Arrowhead Stadium on September 13, 2010 quarterback Philip Rivers will trust his back side to that guy, Brandyn Dombrowski.
There is darkness in the Chargers huddle and for the first time in four seasons it's not the shadow created by 6-foot-7-inch, 336-pound left tackle Marcus McNeill. The strange new darkness is the cloud of uncertainty hanging over McNeill's replacement Brandyn Dombrowski.
Dombrowski, while not a small man at 6-foot-5-inches and 332 pounds, is under the microscope and may well be in over his head. In just his second season out of San Diego State, Dombrowski finds himself replacing a two-time Pro Bowler in Marcus McNeill and protecting the Chargers franchise quarterback.
General Manager A.J. Smith says the Chargers will move on. Head Coach Norv Turner says the offensive line is better now than it was last season. Philip Rivers says the Chargers can win without Marcus McNeill. I say good luck.
McNeill isn't dead. He didn't fall off the face of the earth. He just isn't playing football and more specifically is not playing football for the San Diego Chargers. The unrestricted free agent is holding out for a multi-year contract. McNeill is adamant about not playing football now without a contract and the Chargers are adamant that he is not going to get one now. Thus Brandyn Dombrowski.
The Chargers will move forward. McNeill is out Dombrowski is in. And he wasn't even the team's first choice.
The Chargers signed veteran free agent left tackle Tra Thomas in early June. Thomas was signed for two reasons. The first reason was because Pro Bowl left tackle Marcus McNeill was not there. The second reason was because the Chargers had no one to replace him.
Thomas was to be the starter. The twelve-year veteran had the skill and experience to replace McNeill or so the Chargers thought. Dombrowski, having played admirably last season as a rookie filling in for the injured right tackle Jeremy Clary, was tabbed as the back-up to Thomas. He would learn from the veteran and be prepared to fill in if needed.
Thomas suffered a surgery requiring knee injury early in training camp before eventually retiring on August 21, 2010. Thus Brandyn Dombrowski.
Now with just two weeks until the games start counting, the Chargers will trust the franchise to Brandyn Dombrowski. Plan A is holding out. Plan B retired. On to plan C.
Pressure? For Philip Rivers' sake I hope not.